5.31.2000

My bike

When I was growing up, I used to ride my bike all the time. I don't really remember what kind it was (maybe a Huffy), but I know it had a coaster brake (the only way to brake) and a big banana seat. I would ride to friends' houses and all over the neighborhood, and sometimes Dad and I would ride a long bike trail that ended up at a fish hatchery so we could feed the salmon. Once we moved from California however, I somehow stopped bike riding completely, until recently.
My pal Barron just bought a new mountain bike. When he was chatting about it with me, he offered to let me try out Mariko's old bike. I did, and discovered that I still loved bike riding (just not hand brakes)! So, I decided to buy a new bike as close to my childhood bike as I could find, and the solution was a Schwinn Cruiser, complete with big fenders and coaster brake.
When I was deciding to buy the bike, I found out that Dad had a Schwinn Cruiser when he was a boy! You can see him here with Grandpa posing with the same model bike as mine (except for the paperboy basket). It seemed like I was destined to have this bike, following in Dad's footsteps (but I never intend to throw newspapers!)

I recently visited Newport Beach, California with my pal Dae, and it was great to see that most of the population gets around on cruisers like mine. Outside of the bar where we had a beer after swimming, there were several excellent cruisers parked right outside.
Now I like to ride around the neighborhood behind my condo in the evenings. I have a nice course that I go around twice, and I get to watch kids playing and folks playing tennis along the way. Sitting up high on my cruiser, I have no idea why people like mountain bikes, but to each his own.

5.28.2000

Sunshine : 3 of 5

Tom always wants to see the most "interesting" movies, so we went to this 3 hour and 20 minute epic spanning four generations of a Hungarian family who make a booze called "A Taste of Sunshine". Ralph Fiennes plays 3 of the 4 dudes - why he didn't play his great-great grandpa is a mystery. The story is pretty good, and reminded me of The Red Violin the way the times keep progressing, One of the Fiennes becomes the Olympic fencing champion, so there's some amazing fast swordplay if you like that sort of thing.

Godzilla 2000 : 3 of 5

There's nothing like the real thing - a guy in a rubber suit stomping cardboard buildings, lots of terribly great dubbed voices, and some weird philosophy as a bonus. Thankfully Toho is still cranking out these movies so we don't have to settle for Ferris Bueller fighting a boring pregnant lizard! Godzilla looks way meaner in this movie, more scaly with a tougher nucleo-breath, and he fights a space alien who morphs into something that looks like a cross between our American yuck Godzilla and the Rancor from The Empire Strikes Back. The final scene is the best in the movie!

5.23.2000

Ernesto's Birthday BBQ

A representative group of pals gather to celebrate Ernesto by pigging out.

View photos: Ernesto's Birthday BBQ

5.22.2000

Gig in the Boonies

The Day Jobs meet Deliverance! Witness a swing band on a trailer, along with the best speaker stands ever built.

View photos: Gig in the Boonies

5.21.2000

Levelfield Offices

Witness the incredible sophistication of our huge 7-office space!

View photos: Levelfield Offices

Miss Wyoming / Douglas Coupland : 4 of 5

Douglas Coupland is one of my "read everything" authors - buy the book, no questions. Miss Wyoming was completely justified - an excellent book with such a brilliant metaphor-based way of describing everything. A great story of a former beauty queen/sitcom actress and the parallel path of a has-been TV/movie hunk, this one is much more down to earth than Coupland's last book, Girlfriend in a Coma (but you need to read that one, too!). Lots of cool LA-isms make this a fast read.

5.18.2000

Works.com Offices

Take a peek at the craziness of my last company, Works.com.

View photos: Works.com Offices

5.15.2000

Dido / No Angel : 3 of 5

I know, this chick sings the Roswell theme, but I've never even seen the show. I listened to Dae's copy of this CD while I fell asleep on Newport Beach, so I thought it would be nice to have as a remembrance. Her voice is cool, and nearly every song is in a minor key, but in general they just don't get moving enough to keep me interested. Now I know why it was so easy to get that nap started.

5.08.2000

Seattle/British Columbia

Both Helen and I had an interest in Seattle, and we definitely wanted to see some of Canada because of the amazing exchange rate (we would always say, "Canada is 30% off! Everything must go!"). Seattle was great - I enjoyed the markets, walking around with coffee in the wet chill, and some fantastic restaurants. We drove to British Columbia and stayed at a bed & breakfast there in Vancouver, and enjoyed many fantastic walks in parks and shopping for PEZ. Although this was a great trip, I remember more about Seattle than I do Vancouver, but we decided then that we should see more of Canada soon.

5.06.2000

Tenchi in Tokyo 7: A New Career : 3 of 5

Tenchi in Tokyo feels like it's beginning to wrap up. The mysterious Yugi is revealed (finally!) after hundreds of close-ups of her laughing mouth in all volumes of the series! The characters are so far apart now that it's tough to get much emotion out of them, but at least we get to see Mihoshi and Ryoko become friends again - if only for a moment. The big news is Sakuya's secret (should I tell?), but the highlight is Sakuya's new camera and taking pictures with Tenchi in the park. Sigh.

5.05.2000

Tenchi in Tokyo 8: A New Ending : 3 of 5

Tenchi in Tokyo is over. I didn't even want to watch this one, since I knew this would be the end. What a shocker - Sakuya isn't what we thought all along, and everything winds up just like we began, of course. Lots of love all around, even from Ryoko. But man, the Sakuya situation was so beautifully sad. They even ended that episode with a special song and montage of those cute pigtails. Time for the Tenchi movies!

5.04.2000

Tenchi Universe Vol 1 : 3 of 5

Thus begins a new Tenchi Muyo series so I can continue my addiction to the Japanese boy everyone wants to be (that is, if you would like six beautiful women from outer space living in your house and chasing after your bones). This seems to be the latest set of Pioneer releases, and it shows - the interactive menus are way cooler than the Tenchi in Tokyo ones, and the music is better to boot. I think this series was an "updated" version for Japanese TV, since (here we go again) we start at the beginning with yet another variation of how Tenchi meets up with his harem. Being very "made for TV", the story is presented a little more like a sitcom, with only a few deep emotional moments. This volume gets us everyone but Kiyone, but I'm sure she'll be along soon.

5.03.2000

Tenchi Universe Vol 2 : 3 of 5

Of course, Kiyone shows up right away to be tormented by Mihoshi again (actually, there is some amazing dialogue concerning how happy she is when she thinks poor Mihoshi's dead!). This volume only has three episodes (what's up with that?), and the last one on the disc is pure silliness - the girls set up booths in a carnival and all kinds of goofy things happen, including the carnival getting devoured by a cotton candy machine gone wild (invented by Washu, who else?). I hope the next volume gets back to the actual love triangle, though I do like the focus on Tenchi's father being the ultimate Peeping Tom - my hero.

5.02.2000

Tenchi Universe Vol 3 : 3 of 5

With the third volume, the Tenchi Universe series is still a mixed-bag, like it's trying to sit right between the OAV and Tenchi in Tokyo as far as in-depth plotlines go. So, we start with a completely stupid episode with a Mecha Washu with Mihoshi's brain, end with some interesting fighting and a new enemy for Ryoko, but fill the middle with a heart-wrenching episode about the death of Tenchi's mother. Lots of flashbacks, beautifully stylized images of young Tenchi in the snow as his father tells him what has happened, and nice modern day shots of the family at the grave. Very serious, very uplifting. There may be hope for this series yet! (Don't get me wrong, I love these DVDs, but they can do better!)

5.01.2000

How I Learned to Drive : 3 of 5

Very intriguing play concerning the incestuous relationship of a "loving" uncle and his niece. The title comes from the continuing motif of the uncle teaching his niece to drive, but generally the events are presented backwards (the actor playing the niece does a fantastic job of "growing younger", changing her mannerisms and voice) back to the first "driving lesson", where the tragedy becomes painfully clear. The heavy plot is peppered with comic bits from a "chorus" (man, woman, and teenager) who act all other roles and provide laughs to balance the pain. It's amazing how the playwright can cover such a complex subject and express that complexity - not once does she oversimplify it or harshly judge it - the audience is left to do that themselves.

Tenchi Universe Vol 4 : 4 of 5

One of the strangest set of Tenchi stories ever made - I loved every minute of it! In this volume, Washu invents a dimensional warping machine that can bend reality based on the operator's wishes. Of course, all of the girls try to use the machine at once, causing it to go out of control and send Tenchi and his harem through a series of alternate realities. Over the three episodes, we get to see Ayeka and Tenchi wed in feudal Japan, Kiyone hiding from Mihoshi in a little fishing town (with a great sake scene for Ryoko), the origin of Pretty Sammy (Sasami), who causes Ayeka and Ryoko to become lesbians (woo hoo!), and finally Tenchi and Ryoko as Bonnie and Clyde tearing up the gangster scene. All of these episodes are hilarious and even a little tender - some of the best Tenchi yet (though not as precious as Tenchi in Tokyo, of course).

Plate Tectonics

When I first moved to Austin, I attended a great poetry workshop at UT. Here are some of the poems I worked on there - I think these are some of my best because they have been edited many times.

For now I have decided to not
decide. I trace
the distance between us
on newspaper weathermaps.
We are two inches apart.

I bundle myself in
warm-from-dryer blankets,
thinking of high school science,
picturing continents billions of years ago
refusing to remain stationary,
drifting and colliding until
north touched
west touched
south touched
east as a poorly folded roadmap.

My reluctant roots could be roused
by grinding plates, earthquakes, pumping lava,
steam rising from the ocean.
I listen to wind and crickets, waiting
for tremors.

Trash

In the trash
paper cup spills
cold coffee on

yesterday's news
covering lottery tickets
ripped in disgust

their corners red
with ketchup from
half-eaten fries

dripping grease on
ATM receipts, their
backs containing

To Do lists with
3 of 10 items
scratched out.

Bits of ice cream
cone sprinkle
a tissue used

to wipe baby's
mouth, next to
cigarette cellophane

crumpled under
candy bar wrappers
sticking on

a long distance
bill for 98
dollars, tossed

with lavender love
letters and torn
matchbook covers.

Imposter

I spent time with her because
she let me be an imposter.
She drank Cuba Libres and offered me pot
and seemed to dress a little more like
a witch when we met for sushi.

On Thursday night we would play pool
and lose quarters in the trivia game
at the bar, before
pouring our words on the table,
ready to be sifted by eager hands.
It felt like the kind of nakedness that
can only be comfortable
in front of a stranger, since
she only knew what I looked like
in the mirror,
when I had put on ripped jeans and a flannel.

Later at the late showing of a dubbed film
she would pull
handfuls of candy from her small purse.
We ate Rolos,
talking through the whole movie.
She liked my words -
They made sense with hers.

On Valentine's Day we read together
for the usual crowd,
finishing each others sentences and thoughts.
Someone told me we were
having sex
but I never saw underneath those purple dresses.

Diz is Dead

As the cab pulled away from the curb, the driver reached
down to pick up a silver trumpet with his right hand,

maneuvering through the wet San Francisco streets
full of traffic with his left. It was then I noticed

the music on the radio, slightly louder than the garbled
voice of the dispatch, the way it seemed to affect

this man. The mouthpiece to his lips, answering solos
of the past with present breath, he detached from

the meter, the steering wheel, the brake, the turn signal,
leaving those things to operate themselves,

taking time to converse and mourn. When I arrived
at the hotel, the same jazz station was playing

in the bar, accompanied only by ice clinking
in raised glasses of scotch, twice as empty.

All Souls Day

Fallen leaves,
their delicate ghosts
winding away on the wind,
danced down to the sidewalk.
Shades of brilliant loss
colored the lifeless ground,
trod under foot like bones.

On All Souls Day,
the congregation wrote names on
tent cards, silently shuffling to the altar.
They built a tiny cemetery
for the rarely remembered,
covering the empty parament
with pencil-scribbled grave stones.
Later they talked over lunch
as their efforts were raked into
a plastic bag.

At the funeral, my aunt patted
my grandfather's suited chest,
never hearing the hollow thump.
Someone had put his glasses over his eyelids
like spray-painting flat green on
fallen leaves.